UCLA Begins Post-Season With First Round Game Against New Mexico Saturday Night
Nov. 23, 2007
This Week -- UCLA (8-8-3, Pac-10 runner-up) hosts New Mexico (12-4-2, MPSF champions) on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7:00 pm in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will take place at Marshall Field at Drake Stadium at 7 pm. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for students/youth and can be purchased at the door.
Live Coverage -- A free audio broadcast along with Gametracker live stats will be available for Saturday's game at UCLABruins.com.
Last Two NCAA Runners-Up To Meet - Saturday's game will pit the last two NCAA runners-up against each other in the first round. UCLA was a national finalist a year ago, and New Mexico placed second in 2005.
Bruins Reach NCAA Tournament For 25th Straight Year -- UCLA's at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament is its 25th consecutive and 35th overall. UCLA's NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, and the 35 NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 44. UCLA has won national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002. The Bruins' all-time NCAA record is 59-31.
Last season, UCLA advanced all the way to the NCAA Championship game before falling 2-1 to UC Santa Barbara. To get to the Championship game, the eighth-seeded Bruins defeated Harvard, 3-0, in the second round before plowing through three ACC teams in succession - Clemson 3-0, Duke 3-2 in overtime and Virginia 4-0.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field - The Bruins have played nine games against NCAA Tournament teams this season, with a 3-1 victory over No. 5 seed Ohio State, a 0-0 tie against No. 8 seed Creighton and one-goal losses away from home to No. 4 Indiana, No. 7 seed Santa Clara in overtime and No. 10 seed Notre Dame in overtime. UCLA also has victories over Pac-10 champion California and at-large selection Washington.
Scouting The Lobos -- New Mexico is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and sixth in the past seven seasons. UNM has a 7-4-2 record in NCAA championship play. Last year, New Mexico beat the San Francisco, 1-0, before falling to Cal, 3-1, in the second round. In 2005, the Lobos were the No. 2 overall seed and knocked off Clemson in the semifinals before losing to Maryland in the title game.
Junior midfielder Chris Wright leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 28 points. Also in double-figure scoring are Justin Davis (5g, 3a, 13 pts.), Diego Barrera (2g, 8a, 12 pts.) and P.J. Wilson (5g, 10 pts.). New Mexico's offense is ranked 14th in the nation with a goals per game average of 2.11. Goalkeeper Mike Graczyk holds a 0.73 goals against average with six shutouts.
Prior Matchups -- UCLA leads the all-time series with New Mexico, 8-1-1 and has won six-straight over the Lobos. New Mexico's only win came in 1992 in Albuquerque when the Lobos defeated the Bruins, 1-0. The two teams last met on Sept. 8, 2006 in Albuquerque, with UCLA emerging victorious, 2-0, on a pair of Maxwell Griffin goals. The Lobos last came to UCLA on Oct. 9, 2003 and lost by a 1-0 margin. The Bruins have outscored New Mexico 20-3 in the previous 10 games.
Last Meeting -- The Bruins picked up their first victory of the 2006 season with a 2-0 win over New Mexico in front of over 3,000 Lobo fans. After a scoreless first half, UCLA took control of the game in the second period, with Maxwell Griffin netting the first goal at 56:26 after Greg Folk sent in a cross into the box. Jason Leopoldo also assisted on the play. Griffin repeated his effort at 58:09 after Sal Zizzo sent in a cross into the box which Griffin controlled. Griffin then spun away from his defender and smacked the ball into the upper corner. UCLA goalkeeper Eric Reed earned the shutout, making one save on 12 shots.
Eleven Bruins Named To All-Pac-10 Teams -- A conference-best 11 UCLA players were selected to the 2007 Men's Soccer All-Pac-10 teams. Junior midfielders Tony Beltran and Jason Leopoldo, sophomore midfielder Chance Myers and senior defender Mike Zaher earned first-team honors, while sophomore midfielder Kyle Nakazawa received second-team acclaim. Sophomore forward David Estrada, senior defenders Greg Folk and Brandon Owens, junior forward Maxwell Griffin, sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk and junior defender Brad Rusin earned honorable mention nods. Zaher earned his second-consecutive first-team nods, while Beltran, Leopoldo and Myers earned first-team honors for the first time. Owens became UCLA's first four-time all-conference performer since Adolfo Gregorio (2000-2003).
Last Time Out -- The Bruins last played on Nov. 14, tying San Diego State, 1-1, in Los Angeles. Kyle Nakazawa put UCLA up 1-0 in the first half on a long-range bomb, but the Aztecs tied up the score in the second half. Both teams had good chances to get the game-winner but had to settle for the tie. The result gave UCLA what it needed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. A loss would have ended the Bruins' season.
Griffin Go-To Guy -- Junior forward Maxwell Griffin has become UCLA's go-to-guy for goals this season, scoring a career-best and team-leading nine goals in 18 games. In his career, he has totaled 18 goals and 39 points, most amongst all current Bruins.
Zaher A Finalist For Senior CLASS Award -- UCLA defender Mike Zaher is one of 10 finalists for the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for men's soccer. The award is presented annually in eight NCAA Division I sports to a senior student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. The areas of excellence are identified under classroom, community, character and competition. Zaher has been an exemplary student-athlete, twice earning Pac-10 All-Academic honors and being honored with UCLA's Team GPA award in 2006. He has also remained active in the community, participating in several community outreach projects and fund-raisers. The 2007 team co-captains has been a three-year starter for UCLA, and last year, he earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and third-team NSCAA All-Far West acclaim. He was selected as a pre-season All-American in 2007 by College Soccer News. Zaher currently ranks second on the team in goals (3) and assists (3) and is third in points (9).
Iron Men -- Two Bruins have played every minute of every game so far this year - senior defender Greg Folk and sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk have each totaled 1,774 minutes of play. This is nothing new for Folk, who played all 2,260 minutes a year ago. Two other Bruin players have totaled 1,770+ minutes - senior defender Mike Zaher (1,772) and junior midfielder Tony Beltran (1,770).
Bruins A Big Draw -- The Bruins have seen their fair share of big crowds this year, both home and away. UCLA road games this year (10 away, one neutral) have averaged 2,595 fans. School attendance records were set at Indiana (7,423) and at Creighton (5,812), and the Bruins played in front of an over-capacity crowd of 3,143 at San Francisco. In addition, the team played in front of season-best crowds of 2,333 at Santa Clara, 1,095 at Cal State Northridge and 1,112 at Stanford. Overall this season, the Bruins are playing in front of crowds averaging 2,126, and UCLA leads the Pac-10 in home attendance average (1,481). The Oct. 28 men's/women's doubleheader (UCLA men played Oregon State, UCLA women hosted USC), drew the second-largest home crowd in UCLA soccer history - 3,345.